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Home Blog User Acquisition Guidance and Practice to Understanding User Acquisition

Guidance and Practice to Understanding User Acquisition

Feb 23 2021

user acquisition

For many companies, profit is their main purpose, and the secret of the company's profit is closely related to the product and customer acquisition. The company's customer acquisition ability and promotion skills are the reason why it opens its awareness and gets the first users in a short period of time; and only if the product is good, it can retain customers in a lasting way, thus ensuring the company's long-term development.

Attention has gradually become a "hard currency" in the business world of information explosion, and some people even put forward the concept of "Gross National Time (GNT)", which is analogous to GDP. Obviously, the competition for attention is the underlying logic of all business activities, and only by understanding the operation mechanism of attention can we gain more opportunities in the traffic-based business competition. In the established traffic channels, how to improve the efficiency of reaching and successfully complete the consumer behavior from "perception-understanding-decision-execution", in essence, we need to figure out how to get along with consumers' attention.

User acquisition is the process of using data-driven mobile ad campaigns. It is used to build awareness for apps, platforms, or services and capture new users. Unlike traditional advertising or campaigns that nurture leads at various stages, user acquisition campaigns are designed to convert right away.

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What is user acquisition?

User Acquisition refers to the addition of a new user on your website, mobile app, and other such platforms. Depending on the industry and business model, there are various marketing activities (paid as well as organic) that drive user acquisition.

With the gradual disappearance of traffic and demographic dividends, the competition of the Internet has entered the second half, and the cost of customer acquisition for enterprises is getting higher and higher. The competition in the second half of the Internet will slowly evolve from new users to the competition of time of stock users. Who can seize the time of users, who will be successful.

Most app developers’ user acquisition strategies focus largely or entirely on social media channels. Tools that are native to Facebook and Google App Campaign -- along with supplementary tools available through third parties -- can automate and streamline many aspects of a user acquisition campaign.

Mobile user acquisition

Mobile user acquisition refers to the addition of new users on the mobile-based platforms, such as an iOS app, Android app, mobile-friendly websites, and more.

As users are spending more time on smartphones along with the growth in mobile-based transactions, businesses have to focus on acquiring mobile users. Mobile devices are among the leading sources of browsing traffic across regions and industries, which has pushed marketers to adopt a mobile-first strategy.

Since mobile apps have proven to offer various benefits, such as higher conversion rate, enhanced retention rate, and more, the competition in the mobile app marketing is soaring. Hence, mobile user acquisition is among the key concerns of marketers.

Why is user acquisition important?

Let me explain to you by a simple example. Imagine you are launching an ecommerce business. The marketing leads are given the charge of getting customers for your brand. User acquisition encompasses all those tools and techniques, across platforms, that help you onboard more customers.

growth is one half of the core of any mobile business, as they all rely on acquiring new users and maximizing their value to succeed. In the freemium-dominated app space, where the majority of apps are free to download and use, it is essential to increase app scale to also increase the roughly 5% minority of users who will contribute to your in-app purchase revenue.

The number’s game is also important considering the fact that many users an app will acquire will either stop using it after a short time or uninstall completely. Therefore, while retargeting and re-engagement campaigns play a large role in retaining users, a strong user acquisition strategy will keep new, high quality users flowing in the first place.

User acquisition is also vital to accommodating the recent decline in organic installs the mobile ecosystem has seen. Given the ever-growing amount of total apps worldwide (3.8 million in Google Play and 2 million in the Apple App Store as of 2018), driving organic installs at scale is becoming extremely challenging. User acquisition fills in the gaps left by reduced organic activity -- these days, with the intense competition that exists, as a marketer, you have to spend money to make money. You can do that by relying on data to ensure your investment is worthwhile.

Lastly, a good user acquisition strategy serves as a boost to your app store rankings, as the number of installs is a factor in the store algorithms (in recent years, its weight has reduced in favor of more quality-driven metrics like ratings, reviews, uninstalls and engagement). While it is becoming harder and harder to get organic users from app stores, install volume -- particularly driven by non-organic installs, which are controlled by marketers and their budgets -- is still useful in raising an app’s ranking. As a result, there is a greater opportunity for an increase in the number of organic installs and ultimately attracting more higher quality organic users that will help keep your app profitable.

In short, a well-planned and executed user acquisition strategy will lead to increasing revenue from your company’s offerings and is essential to success.

Growing business needs increasing user base

If you plan to use your mobile apps as a rewarding medium for your business, you need to attract users to it. Customer acquisition performance has a direct relation with the revenue. Once you have users onboard, you can convert them for profitability. As several business models suggest, you can make up for the initial losses with the volume of users in the long run and more so in the B2C category.

More users mean more customers

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

Every new user that you acquire for your mobile app gives you one more shot to convert. Acquiring a customer means the progress of one stage in your marketing funnel. There are endless options for you to nurture a user and boost your conversions.

For marketing, consumer data is currency; userbase and data expands proportionally

App installs bring a number of benefits for you, gathering customer data is one of them. It helps you create better cohorts, trends, and user patterns, which can be used in improving your UA campaigns, app user experience, conversion techniques, and several other optimizations. Along with that, you can focus on increasing the Lifetime Value (LTV) of customers.

How does user acquisition strategy work?

The implementation of a robust user acquisition strategy in the business will help you to find new users and convert them into paying subscribers. While being aggressive with the marketing to gather more users of your app, you need to ensure that you are checking various other factors, such as advertising user experience, channel-ROI, fraud-free ad campaign results, and more. Here are some of the key factors that you need to consider in your mobile user acquisition strategy:

Identify target group

Like any marketing campaign, the user acquisition campaign also starts with the identification of the right target group. Every impression and ad space adds dollars to your digital marketing invoices. Ensure that you have generated the right set of users so that your campaign attracts valuable prospects while keeping the campaign performance optimum.

Pick the channels that matter

Depending on your app and user behavior, different channels have a varying potential for your app user acquisition strategy. You need to figure out the channels that can have the widest reach and the most positive impact on your target group.

Finalize your budget and its distribution

Almost every channel that’s listed in the above point gives you the option to go with the paid as well as the organic methods. It remains your call on how you wish to use them. Most trusted practice in deciding the budget distribution among different marketing channels is allocating sample budget to run a test campaign across them. With programmatic user acquisition solutions powered by Artificial Intelligence and Machine-learning, even your test campaigns can offer reliable insights.

Use formats according to your channels

“When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”

Choose a format that works for the chosen channel. The performance of mobile app user acquisition campaigns depends on formats that different marketing channels accept. Some channels may deliver better results with videos, while others may be better with a gif or static image. Rich media finetunes the ad experience, which contributes to branding as well as conversion.

Language is another crucial element. Do you need to use the local language? Once you have figured out the answers to these questions, you can utilize it to add more efficacy to your user acquisition strategy.

Align your conversion and retention plan

Your user acquisition plan should align with the conversion and retention strategy for the most effective results in the long run. Some newbies in the industry focus only on the acquisition at the beginning while ignoring the strategy to engage the onboard users.

Various stages of your marketing funnel should remain in sync so that your campaigns help you drive the best value. Proper implementation of push notifications in the mobile app and website will keep your users engaged and hence, raising the chances of conversion.

Growing a subscription app with programmatic advertising

Apps with subscription models face similar challenges to other apps, namely user churn. Retention rates for subscription apps average below 50%, emphasizing the need to keep users engaged and in-app.

One of the preeminent needs for a freemium subscription app is to build a strong and devoted user base early enough. If this user base is invested in the app from day one, they can more easily be led to then convert/subscribe. With a community of subscribed users, it will be easier to attract more users via a network effect later.

A successful ad experience depends on the context used to build it, and building a winning user acquisition campaign starts by understanding how users interact with apps and how. Deep learning algorithms allow app businesses to reach high-value users with relevant messaging at the right time and with optimal frequency.

The channels of user acquisition


Paid media marketing

Paid media marketing involves the use of media channels to display direct response ads whose creative encourages users to install apps. One common example of paid user acquisition includes targeted posts, banners, or ads published on social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn; or a video ad running on mobile ad networks like ironSource, AppLovin or Vungle. Paid media also includes influencer marketing, which harnesses the fame and/or influence of high-profile individuals to reach potential new users in their networks. In all of these cases, marketers must invest capital resources in order to utilize these channels

Owned media marketing

On the other hand, involves leveraging owned marketing assets to obtain users. Examples of owned media assets include email messages, SMS, QR codes, and rewarded user invite communications. User acquisition campaigns harnessing owned media assets might include converting existing web users to app users via email targeting, or adding user invite banners in a game to encourage sharing with friends in return for in-game currency.

App store optimization (ASO)

ASO is an important activity under the marketing budget meant to boost organic installs and thus an important part of user acquisition. The equivalent of the web’s SEO, ASO focuses on optimizing an app’s store page headline, description, keywords, and other components to boost app store rankings. ASO usually falls under the responsibilities of the UA manager, and it can either be done in-house or serviced via an external ASO agency.

How do I optimize for high user acquisition?

Successful user acquisition is extremely reliant on continuous data-driven optimization. It is especially driven by ongoing testing and re-adjustment of campaigns with time. Ultimately, the purpose of data in user acquisition is to identify the trends and patterns that work for your app and goals, which means not designing an effective user acquisition plan will leave you guessing, and ultimately wasting money.

With the shift from quantity to quality -- that is, focusing more on post-install user engagement to inform future user acquisition -- marketers must rely on mobile measurement and attribution tools to pinpoint the sources of the highest quality users and zero in on their strongest performers to allocate future budgeting. Even with, or especially because of, a limited budget, spending more time with your attribution data will help you scale both your organic and non-organic traffic and ensure your marketing investment consistently comes back… with interest.

Optimizing for long term growth

Like any other marketing channel, programmatic relies on regular testing and improvement and it might seem attractive to over-optimize campaigns for revenue. Although this approach can bring short term gains, it doesn't lead to long term scale if your efforts aren't coupled with a retention and activation strategy. Therefore, start by collecting data, analyzing user segments, and making sense of their behavior throughout the entire app journey. This is the starting point to build a strategy catered to long term and incremental results for your subscription app.

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